Boof Bonser (Star Tribune photo)
For today's prospect tidbits, I want to draw your attention to a pair of Twins pitchers at Triple-A Rochester, Boof Bonser and Travis Bowyer. While J.D. Durbin and Scott Baker get most of the attention as up-and-coming right-handed pitchers in Minnesota, Bonser and Bowyer cannot be ignored.
Bonser is the better-known of the two. A former first-round pick of the Giants, he came to the Twins in 2004 as part of the A.J. Pierzynski trade. He doesn't throw 95 MPH any more, but he still reaches 90, has improved his curveball and changeup, and throws strikes. For Rochester, he is 3-1, 3.89 in 8 starts, with a 42/12 K/BB in 44 innings. I like the K/BB ratio. Caveat: he's given up 6 homers, and he doesn't have the same margin of error he did when he threw harder. He's received enough attention in the past that he's not a genuine sleeper in the classic sense, but I wanted to point out that he still has a chance to contribute.
A guy who IS a real sleeper is teammate Travis Bowyer.
A 20th round pick from a Virginia high school in 1999, Bowyer is being used as the closer at Rochester. He has 8 saves, a 2.16ERA, and a 35/11 K/BB in 25 innings, allowing only 15 hits and 1 home run. His fastball can hit the mid-90s, he has a good changeup, and he's refined his slider into a good pitch. Note the very impressive K/IP and H/IP ratios, and the low home run rate, signs of excellent stuff. If he continues to throw strikes, I don't see any reason why he can't be an impressive power reliever.